Starstruck

'... And tune in at nine o'clock for your chance to WIN a meeting with the heart-throb Mathias Kohler, star of the box-office hit A Copenhagen Romance!'

Lukas almost choked on his coffee, unconsciously slamming on the brakes. The driver behind beeped angrily in response, but Lukas hardly heard it. From pretty much ignoring the radio, he was now listening as intently as if the presenter were delivering a message from God himself. Meet Mathias Kohler! Did he dare hope? Lukas took a deep breath to calm his racing heart and subdue the colour that was rushing to his normally icy cheeks. He'd had a crush on the handsome Danish blond since his very first film, since he first stole the public's heart with his winning smile and expertly spiked hair. He persuaded himself to keep driving as he listened for further details. It was 8:42. Just eighteen more minutes until his chance to fulfil his dream.

'The winner will have a private meeting with Mathias at the wonderful Feli's Pizza restaurant and also receive two tickets to the premiere and a whole load of signed merchandise!' Lukas almost squealed in excitement, and the taciturn Norwegian had a rule – he NEVER squealed! Everyone who ever knew him commented on how quiet and serious he was. Only his brother knew about his secret love. 'All you have to do is call and answer this question: in which hilarious romcom did he play a tennis player? The lines are open… NOW!'

Lukas was now in the car park at work but had no intention of going in until he had tried his luck. The question was deliberately, he knew that. No-one would get it wrong, so he had to be picked the first time. With trembling hands, he punched in the number of the radio station and raised the phone to his ear. It rang once, twice… 'OK, now we'll go to the lucky line! Could it be you?' There was a click on the other end of the line and Lukas heard a voice, both in his ear and from the radio speaker.

'Hello, and who's this, our potential lucky winner?' Forgetting his rule for a split second, Lukas squealed, and then recovered himself. 'Lukas, I'm Lukas,' he babbled breathlessly. 'Well, Lukas, do you know the answer to the question?' asked the presenter, deliberately increasing the tension by playing game show music in the background. 'YES! YES!' he screamed 'IT WAS LOVE-15!' The presenter said nothing for a minute, dragging out a theatrical pause for effect before announcing, 'That is the correct answer! Congratulations, Lukas – you're our lucky winner!' He squealed again, attempted to speak through his excitement, then, when the call was over, looked around the car park and realised that he was very late for work. For once, he didn't care.

…...

Finally, the big day dawned. It was a Friday, so he had to spend the whole day at work, looking at the clock every three seconds and getting almost nothing done. The shivery feeling of excitement in his stomach didn't go away for a moment and intensified as the day drew near. His boss had agreed to let him leave two hours early if he made up the time later, and as soon as his watch beeped three o'clock, he jumped up from his desk, grabbed his car keys and ran for the exit.

At home, he ran straight into his room, flung open his wardrobe and sighed. What on Earth was he going to wear? Feli's Pizza was expensive, but it wasn't a black tie sort of place. After agonising for about twenty minutes, Lukas finally settled on an open-necked cream shirt with chinos and his smart work shoes. And now for the hair. Mathias was famous for his hair, and Lukas looked at his own white-blonde mop in despair. It was an ok style, and some people called it cute, but there was that stupid curl that refused to lie flat no matter what he did. His brother teased him, saying that it was 'more resistant than a cockroach'. Well, he'd just have to leave it. The meeting was to begin at eight o'clock and it was now seven. He ran his hands through his hair in a last-ditch attempt to make his curl behave, moaned in exasperation when that failed and ran outside to his car.

Once he arrived at the restaurant, he saw that he was expected. A tall, blond German, who introduced himself as the actor's bodyguard, greeted him at the entrance and explained that he and Mathias would be left mostly to their own devices. 'This is a nice part of town. I'm only really here as a precaution. I won't be standing over you or anything like that.' Lukas smiled and thanked him, feeling a little bit famous himself as he was escorted inside.

He saw Mathias immediately, sitting at a table for two in a private corner of the restaurant. He stood up and waved as he saw the pair come in. As Lukas walked over, Mathias ran to meet him. The reserved Norwegian was not prepared for the crushing hug that he found himself wrapped in without warning. 'Hi!' said Mathias breathlessly, after he had released a rathrt stunned Lukas. 'You must be Lukas! It's always so great to meet fans… Hey, this is cute!' he exclaimed, giving the disobedient curl a quick tug. Lukas flushed scarlet, making Matthias smile. 'Oh sorry… I don't mean to be so overbearing!' he apologised, flashing his brilliant grin. 'So, let's eat!'

The bodyguard remained true to his word, secreted behind a pillar near the kitchen door. At one point, Feli, the lively Italian chef, came out and started chatting to him. They seemed to get on very well and Lukas was fairly sure he saw a phone number being scribbled on a scrap of paper during their conversation.

Mathias managed to act like he and Lukas were the only people in the restaurant. He asked myriad questions about every boring detail of Lukas's life and seemed to find him genuinely interesting. He continued paying him lavish compliments during the whole meal, praising his 'sapphire eyes' and 'pure, snowy cheeks'. Lukas, emboldened by the plentiful wine, teased him 'So you're a poet now?' he joked. Mathias laughed and reached across the table to clasp his hand. Lukas looked down, not quite sure what to do, but pleased nonetheless. When he met Mathias's eyes, he saw that his face was serious. 'I mean it. You look amazing. Your beauty is matched only by your wit.' Lukas realised that he had been rather unlike himself all evening, making stupid jokes and puns, and blushed. Mathias continued 'You're amazing, Lukas. I've only just met you and yet I can already tell that you're so much nicer than so many of the people in the film industry, and so much more interesting, so honest, so sincere.' Lukas was welling up. No-one had ever been so kind to him, not even his few previous boyfriends. But it was time to leave. Already, the restaurant staff were discreetly removing the velvet rope that separated the VIP area from the rest of the restaurant. Mathias abruptly removed his hand from Lukas's and rummaged in his pocket, extracting a biro and small piece of notepaper. He quickly wrote something down and handed it to Lukas. 'Here. This is my personal number. Hardly anyone has this, and if you call this number, it's guaranteed to be me who answers.' They stood up, preparing to depart. Mathias hugged him again, then planted a spontaneous kiss on Lukas's cheek. 'Please call soon' he entreated 'I really do want to see you again.'

As Lukas drove home, he felt like his whole body would explode with joy. 'So this' he said aloud, into the silence 'is what it feels like to be starstruck.'